In all Buddhist countries the Jataka tales were the ma- jor sources for developing the character of the people. They were used widely in preaching by monks and lay preach- ers. King Dutugemunu (2nd century B.C.), in Anurad- hapura, paid for the support of preachers to teach Dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha. They usually used these sto- ries in their sermons. Even the Venerable Arahant Maha Mahinda, who introduced Dhamma into Sri Lanka, used these stories to illustrate the truth of the teachings. Some were even used by the Lord Buddha in his teachings, and from him his followers learned them and passed them into popular use in society. Even earlier, the same types of sto- ries were present in Vedic literature.
Greek myths, as well as the fables of Aesop, inherited them from the Vedas and Buddhism; Persia also took them from India. They later migrated into the stories of Chaucer in England and Boccaccio in Italy. The stories were used for a variety of purposes. In Sanskrit, thePancatantra used them to teach Law and Economics, and theKatha Sarit Sa- gara used them for the development of knowledge, as well as just for enjoyment. In the past, people have been satis- fied and fulfilled in many ways by hearing them in forms ranging from lessons to fairy tales.